Twitter was incorrect to block weblinks to an unverified political article, said CEO Jack Dorsey on Friday, referring to the company’s condemnation of the article that contributed to cries of right-wing censorship.
“The straight blocking of URLs was incorrect, and we changed our policies and compliance to correct it,” he tweeted. “Our goal is to try to add meaning, and now we have the capacity to do so.”
After initially banning people from posting links to the story on Wednesday, Twitter let its users share a connexion on Friday. It acted as a demonstration of how easily things will change when it comes to social media, propaganda, and coming U.S. elections as businesses continue to manage unprecedented times.
Dorsey was weighed in after an executive at the social media platform revealed late Thursday improvements to its hacked content policies following an onslaught of criticism.
Twitter can no longer delete stolen content unless it is specifically posted by hackers or those working with them, the company’s head of law, regulation, trust and security, Vijaya Gadde, said in a Twitter thread.
And instead of blocking links from sharing, tweets would be named to have a context, Gadde said.
“We want to answer fears that there may be certain negative implications for journalists, whistleblowers, and others in ways that run counter to Twitter’s aim of serving a global discourse,” she said.
Twitter and Facebook worked swiftly this week to restrict the dissemination of the storey released by the conservative-leaning New York Post, referencing unverified emails from Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son allegedly unearthed by President Donald Trump’s allies. The storey has not been verified by any other publications.
San Francisco-based Twitter originally replied by banning users from posting links to the article in tweets and direct messages because it violated the company’s policy banning hacked content. But users didn’t know why they couldn’t share the connexion until hours later.
But by Friday, people were free to re-post connexions. Twitter said that was because the “once-private” information in the report is now “widely accessible” in the news and on other sites.
Dorsey had tweeted for the first time that it was “unacceptable” that the company had not given any further context on its action. A little over 24 hours later, Gadde announced improvements to the organisation after getting “important input (from critical to supportive)” about how it applied the policy.
Facebook said it was “reducing” the circulation of the storey on its website while waiting for third-party fact-checkers to validate it, something it routinely does for content that is not explicitly excluded from its service, even though it risks sharing lies or causing damage in other ways.
Trump is now integrating Twitter’s behaviour into his campaign rallies, pleading with his followers to deliver an election day warning to what he described as “censors.”
“We’re not only going to race against Joe Biden. We’re running against the left-wing media and we’re running against the big tech, “said Trump.